The owner of the Dune Road property in East Quogue on which Dockers Waterside Restaurant and Marina sits has put the land up for sale, and is seeking $13.5 million for the 9.3 acres that overlook Shinnecock Bay.
Among the possible uses advertised in the listing of the property is a condominium development, which the owner, James Bozart, said he has considered in the past. He said that preliminary sketches that development consultants have drawn up over the years showed the possibility of between 15 and 20 condos housed in a single building.
Dockers owner Larry Hoffman, who also holds a 2-percent share in the property itself, said this week that he has 15 years remaining on his lease and does not foresee being forced to close his restaurant if the property does fetch its towering asking price. The bayfront restaurant opened for the season last weekend.
“Dockers is not going anywhere,” Mr. Hoffman said on Monday, though he also said he is not considering buying the land. “Dockers is an institution and I don’t want to see it go away.”
Mr. Hoffman added that he was somewhat disappointed that Mr. Bozart, who he had personally recruited to purchase the property in the 1990s, decided to put the land up for sale, but understood that the 73-year-old has his eyes on retirement.
“Later this year I will be 74 and I’ve been thinking about it for a year or two already,” Mr. Bozart said from his office in New York City.
While the property officially totals more than 9 acres, just over half—or 5.3 acres—is dry land. The remainder is marshland and the boat basin was dug out of the surrounding salt meadows in the 1930s.
The land is officially zoned by Southampton Town for residential development, with the restaurant existing by virtue of it having been built prior to the creation of local zoning laws. Mr. Bozart said he was not sure if it would be possible to develop the property residentially and leave the restaurant building intact.
Dockers opened in 1990, and Mr. Bozart purchased the property from the late Bill Swann in 1998.
“When the opportunity came to buy the property, we had to go get a real estate partner because we didn’t have the money to buy all that property,” Mr. Hoffman recalled. “We’ve had a great relationship with him.”
Dockers has made headlines a lot over the last 10 years as Mr. Hoffman, acting as the managing principal of 94 Dune Road Holding Corp., the partnership created with Mr. Bozart to buy the land, struggled for permission to expand and upgrade his dock and boat basin. The proposal, filed in 2004, initially asked for permission to put in a full-service marina, with nearly 60 boat slips, fueling facilities and a store. It also sought permission from the Southampton Town Trustees to dredge a channel between the restaurant and Shinnecock Bay, in order to allow access for larger boats.
Ultimately, Mr. Hoffman scaled back the proposal considerably, finally winning approval just this past fall for a single dock with room for 16 boats and a kayak landing ramp. He did not install fueling or any ancillary facilities, and the dredging proposal was scrapped.